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Police officer arrested in apparent hit-and-run crash that killed bicyclist

Updated: 
March 2, 2015 - 7:51am

A 63-year-old Michigan man was killed Sunday after being struck by an on-duty Hawaii Police Department officer in what the Hawaii County Fire Department described as a hit-and-run incident on Waikoloa Road in South Kohala.

The officer has been identified as 30-year-old Jody Buddemeyer, according to police. He was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide and subsequently released pending further investigation.

The officer, who was assigned to the department’s South Kohala District, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, according to police. The investigation is standard practice in any officer-involved fatality, police noted.

West Hawaii Today’s attempts to reach Area II commander, Assistant Chief Paul Kealoha, were unsuccessful as of press time Sunday.

The bicyclist, identified by police as Jeffrey C. Sunow, was found lying face down near a “severely damaged” bicycle on the shoulder of the eastbound lane of Waikoloa Road, near mile marker 11, according to fire department personnel who responded about 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The rescue personnel determined that the West Bloomfield, Mich., man had died prior to their arrival and handed the investigation over to police.

Police did not provide details on when the accident occurred, only that Buddemeyer reported the crash at 6:25 a.m. Sunday. The Hawaii County Fire Department, in a prepared statement released Sunday morning, described the incident as an apparent hit-and-run.

The eastbound lane of Waikoloa Road was closed for several hours while police investigated the fatality.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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